March 7, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. -- Northwestern gave up a pair of early runs Friday to Kansas in the opening game of the Under Armour Showcase hosted by South Florida before storming back with a pair of home runs in the latter innings to post a 4-3 victory.
Northwestern moves to 12-4 overall on the year with its victory while Kansas now stands at 11-7 on the season with its loss.
Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) began the game with a base hit on the very first pitch she saw before stealing second and moving to third on a Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) sacrifice bunt. Kansas ace Kelsey Kessler was able to induce two outs on the infield to strand Allard at the bag. The Jayhawks then struck for two runs in the bottom of the first aided by back-to-back doubles against NU starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union).
After stranding runners in the second and third while Wood retired the Kansas side in order in those frames, Northwestern jumped ahead in the fourth. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) drew a leadoff walk and gave way to pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley). Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) then doubled Williams to third before Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) SMASHED a home run off the facing of the batting cages deep beyond the left-center field fence to put NU on top, 3-2. LeBeau's blast was her second of the sophomore's year and career.
Wood ran her streak of consecutive Jayhawks retired to 10 with two outs in the fourth before Kansas notched its third double of the game, but Wood recovered with her fifth strikeout to keep the B1GCats in the lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Kansas put a leadoff runner aboard and get her to second with two outs. Wood then worked around the hot hand in the Jayhawk order before retiring the next batter on one pitch.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Edwards added some insurance for the Wildcats with a solo home run over the 230-foot sign in dead center field to make it a 4-2 game. The shot for Edwards was her second of the year and the 15th of her career.
With the score the same in the bottom of the seventh, Kansas got its leadoff batter aboard on a bunt single -- its first hit of the game that was not a double. With two outs and that runner at second, Wood worked around the same batter she did in the fifth, issuing a two-out walk. The next batter flared a single to center that brought home one run before Wood got a grounder to Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) at third to end the game.
Wood (7-2) earned the complete-game victory, allowing three runs on five hits with six walks and seven strikeouts. At the plate, Edwards had a double, a home run, two runs scored and an RBI to lead NU. Majam collected two hits including a double and LeBeau drove in three with her big fly.
Northwestern returns to action immediately against host South Florida at the Under Armour Showcase.
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